Editor’s Note: Brad Moore, CPP, is Director of Global Payroll, Labor Accounting, and Contact Center at Raytheon Global Business Services. In this position, Moore is responsible for the end-to-end payroll process for 64,000 Raytheon employees worldwide. Moore brings 29 years of payroll experience and in the last six years expanded payroll services to more than 40 countries. Currently, Moore is involved in the completion of payroll expansion in seven countries and driving process and automation improvements across all global payrolls.
What emerging trends in global payroll are demanding your attention?
Increased automation is demanding considerably more attention. There is a significant gap in the amount of automation in global payroll processing as compared to the automation in our U.S. operations. We have implemented best-of-breed payroll solutions in countries where we have a strong presence and use the aggregator model for our remaining countries. There are still substantial opportunities to automate and streamline processes across our global payrolls, and the efficiency of these automated processes are critical to support current and future growth in global markets.
What are the chronic challenges for companies moving into global expansion?
Depending on your footprint and in-country support, there are many challenges to setting up global payroll, especially where you have a small number of employees. In most cases, you must rely on a third-party processor to handle the payroll. Vendor management/partnership can be a major challenge depending on how well your supplier is performing to the service level agreements (SLAs) you have in place.
What resources do you use to stay current on the latest trends and legislation in payroll?
We receive updates from our payroll vendors and subscribe to Bloomberg BNA International Payroll Support Network and other periodicals such as Global Payroll to keep current on trends. Also, our local sites alert us to changes that impact payroll, and we partner closely with human resources, legal, finance, and treasury organizations to incorporate and adapt our processes as needed.
How can a payroll department provide support on a strategic level to corporate finance, human resources, and other departments?
Payroll has visibility to other functions and major financial components driving labor and benefit expense within the company. When payroll is centralized, it can be empowered to serve as a catalyst that helps drive improvements and consistent practices to ensure robust controls are implemented. Payroll is one of the first organizations engaged when entering a new country and therefore serves a key role in defining, influencing, and implementing in-country pay and benefits policies, processes, and controls.
What strategic advice would you give to a company moving from a domestic to a global payroll?
An initial assessment, aligned priorities, and a vision for the future state along with executive sponsorship are critical to start transitioning into global payroll. Also:
- Have an understanding from a local viewpoint with a global mindset
- Spend time up front to understand the current state
- Each country will have unique requirements; know that the lines between payroll and HR become more blurred and manage that as best you can
- Engage with legal, human resources, finance, IT, supply chain, internal audit, and the business home and local offices to align optimally
- Plan for additional time and effort to address privacy, banking, and working with any applicable work councils
You will need to establish a global set of common controls for all global payrolls. A good place to start is with your applicable domestic controls. Depending on factors driving your global expansion, I recommend implementing and monitoring global payroll controls over a fixed time period, for example, six months to a year, before finalizing a global payroll strategy. When implementing the controls, you will need to understand the current process, identify any gaps, and address them to ensure the right controls are in place. Attention to the appropriate implementation and monitoring of optimized global controls will assist in defining your current state and understanding priorities for your global payroll strategy.
What are some essential practices and strategic choices to manage risk and compliance?
Strong collaboration with human resources, finance, legal, and IT is essential when managing a global payroll. Implementation of the following are key enablers to achieving compliance and managing risk:
- Define and implement standard controls across all payrolls
- Establish and clearly communicate roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders with segregation of duties
- Keep employee information in one HR management system (HRMS)
- Employ knowledgeable and well-trained employees supporting the payrolls
- Prepare well-defined and monitored SLAs with suppliers that are able to understand the customer perspective
- Automate with and through suppliers
- Implement closed-loop processes/controls from inputs through payment to the employee and payroll remittances
How should a company determine if there is a good fit with a prospective vendor?
Creating a request for proposal (RFP) based on a solid understanding and statement of your requirements is essential. However, even with the best RFP and follow-up questions, you will not be sure how well a vendor solution meets your organization’s requirements until implementation and processing in the first country is complete. One strategy is implementing a phased approach, starting with a few countries in manageable increments, before making a final decision on a vendor(s) for your global landscape.
Why and how did you become involved in payroll?
I started as a college intern in the payroll department and had the opportunity to learn several payroll areas, from processing timecards, manually calculating off-cycle checks, updating employee records, to interacting directly with people in providing customer service. This was a great experience and opened my eyes to how complex and challenging a career in payroll could be.
What are some of the pieces of learned wisdom from your on-the-job experience that you can share in regard to being effective and efficient?
Using the Six Sigma discipline continues to have the largest impact. Alignment with stakeholders on the problem statement, vision, and then understanding root causes of problems has led to a significant number of improvements that we have successfully implemented in payroll.
What were some of your early career lessons?
The importance of customer service is key. Pay has an emotional connection for your customer. It is important to listen to your customer, show empathy, and respond in a timely manner to them when they have questions or need support. The answer to the customer’s concern may not be what they want to hear, but you can always listen, be courteous, respectful, and prompt with your answer or assistance. It is OK if you don’t know the answer, but let them know when you will get back to them, or direct them to where they can get assistance.
From a professional standpoint, looking back when I was most uncomfortable and challenged in some way, that’s when I learned the most. Early in my career, I was part of a project to transition to a new payroll system. This was one of the most challenging and uncomfortable periods. The knowledge I gained on payroll, systems, project management, teaming with people, and working through challenges was a significant factor in my career progression.
What career advice do you give to a new employee in payroll?
Don’t rush to the next higher grade/position. Build your toolbox and become proficient in as many payroll areas as you can. In addition to payroll knowledge, grow your soft skills with a focus on communication, teaming, adaptability, and critical and creative thinking. You will learn the most when you are challenged and working in stretch assignments. Don’t be afraid to stretch. That’s how you develop, and career advancement opportunities will increase with your growth.
How do you approach change management to help make an organization successful?
Our payroll organization has used Six Sigma to make significant improvements to the end-to-end payroll process. A crucial component of Six Sigma is alignment with key stakeholders. With strong stakeholder collaboration through the project, the team collectively gains an understanding of the current and future state. With aligned stakeholders, a stronger change management plan is developed from a collective view that positions the project for success by reducing resistance to the change.
What stress management techniques have you found useful?
Even with the best planning, testing, etc., there are issues that arise that if not addressed can cause a significant amount of stress. When an issue occurs, I first collect the facts (cause, significance of the impact, stakeholders, and who is impacted). Next, I work collectively with the team to determine options and act on the best option with as much expediency as possible. This focuses the team and reduces the stress when an issue occurs. Once the initial response is complete, we can revisit the incident to fully understand the root cause and implement improvements to prevent the recurrence of the problem or issues in the future.
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